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How does Commuting Behavior Change Due to Incentives? An Empirical Study of the Beijing Subway System

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  • O18 - Urban
  • Rural
  • Regional
  • And Transportation Analysis
  • Housing
  • Infrastructure
  • R40 - General
  • R48 - Government Pricing And Policy


This study examines the impact of incentives on commuters’ travel behavior based upon a questionnaire survey conducted on the Beijing Subway System. Overall, we find that giving incentives to commuters, especially fast food restaurant-related services and reduced ticket fares, has a positive influence on morning rush-hour avoidance. Furthermore, using interaction analysis, we discover that the flexible work time schedule has an impact on commuters’ behavior and the efficiency of the subway system. Finally, we recommend two possible policies to maximize the utility of the subway system and to reduce congestion at the peak of morning service: 1) a set of incentives including free wireless internet connection service with a coupon for breakfast and a discount on ticket fares before the morning peak, and 2) the introduction of a flexible work time schedule.

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